This industry includes establishments primarily engaged in the production of cash grains, not elsewhere classified. Primary cash grains in this classification include dry field and seed peas and beans, safflowers, sunflowers, and popcorn. The industry also includes farms growing barley, buckwheat, lentils, oats, sorghum, rye, mustard seeds, cowpea and flaxseed.
Dry Pea and Bean Farming
Oilseed (except Soybean) Farming
Oilseed and Grain Combination Farming
All Other Grain Farming
Major members of this industry, such as barley, oats, sorghum, and dry beans combined for more than $2.2 billion in production in 2002, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This group of cash grains accounted for more than 21 million acres of farmland in the early 2000s, which yielded more than 715 million bushels per year. Cash grains, like most U.S. crops, had depended on government price supports since the Great Depression up until 1996, when Congress passed the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act, or "freedom to farm" legislation. This act gradually decreased subsidies over a seven-year period, with a goal of eliminating them by 2002 and ushering in a new era of market-dependent farming. However, the passage of the 2002 Farm Bill, signed by President Bush in May of that year, extended price subsidies for cash grains and other crops for an additional six years.
About 60 percent of the barley grown in the United States is used for livestock feed, especially dairy and beef cattle. Another third of the crop is used for malt by the food and brewing industries. Barley has been affected by acreage reduction programs through which the U.S. government has paid farmers to suspend the planting of barley on portions of their land. In 2001, barley acres planted reached a record low of 4,967, compared to the nearly 9,000 bushels planted in 1991. Between 1998 and 2003 annual U.S. barley production fell from 352 million bushels to 227 million bushels. Over the same time period, yield per acre harvested dropped from 60 bushels to 54.9 bushels. North Dakota, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Minnesota are among the top barley producing states.
Genetic research may enhance barley's future by developing breeds of barley that can yield...